One of the things I’m reminded of every day as I go through life, either advancing from a previous state of mental, physical, spiritual, (or all 3) stagnation or trying to motivate and push through a current one to the next stage of life, (and life is all about stages), progress is only as easy or difficult as I make it.
The hardest thing to do in life is admit that I don’t know everything. As I get older I’m constantly wanting to be that person that says “I know what I’m saying, I’ve been through it”, because the lessons I’ve learned in life that have led to wisdom or just plain knowledge and understanding of something have come about through processes that were either easy or hard, and that experience has value and so there is value in the experience I share.
I see now what the adults in my life felt like when they tried to advise me. When I was a sponge and willing to absorb what I was taught I found my knowledge base expanding, my basic understanding of how things worked and what was easier and harder to do and how to do it made life smoother and prepared me for the real challenges.
When I wasn’t, the process took longer. I had to learn though experience when I chose not to learn through example and I was stubborn so it was often the former.
That being said, in retrospect I see how I was always learning. Even when I thought I knew it all.
Can‘t count the number of times that I think I’ve got something down because I’ve been there done that and when I am faced with it again I see that there is some new element to it, and my knowledge only gets me so far, the rest I have to learn either from someone else or through experience.
Once again, I find that I am always learning. I also find that how quickly or well I learn things depends on how open I am to learn, to consider and apply the things I’m being taught.
It’s a lot like redirects. An actor HAS to be willing to absorb the redirects even when they aren’t similar to what we had prepared for the character and the scene.
The same applies to coaching. When an actor goes to a coach, and is given feedback, or adjustments, for a scene you can quickly see how willing they are to absorb them. You can also see when your feedback or redirects become “suggestions” instead of direction. That’s always fun.
One of the things about doing things like workshops or seminars with other professionals in the industry is that you get to test 2 very important things.
First, did the actor listen to your coaching.
Second does the other professional see the same things you saw.
The first let’s you know whether the actor is listening and receptive to learning from you.
The second let’s you see if the actor will realize that they are being given the exact same feedback as they got in class And realize they’ve wasted an opportunity to grow.
It’s frustrating to me to see Actors I’ve been coaching for a while step in front of a guest coach, or panel and present a scene without any of the adjustments we’ve talked about, without concern for any of the technical things we’ve talked about, or breaking rules I’ve told them not to break, only to be told the EXACT same things I’ve told them in class especially when those things scream so loudly that the person isn’t able to look past them to any talent that may be there.
THAT to me is less of an affront to my teaching as it is an affront to themselves.
Because it means they’ve lost time Or worse wasted a good opportunity.
This industry more than many others, other than sports, acutely minds the passing of time, and opportunities don’t often come around twice.
While there’s no way to predict the future, there is most definitely a way to be better prepared for it. Training is very important. But if you aren’t willing to absorb and learn, you are wasting valuable time.
I heavily suggest for people to research and do their due diligence when it comes to training with me. I don’t like to waste my time on people that are throwing time and money away just to stay in the same place. Because when they don’t progress or improve and then refer to training with me, and I’m literally watching them make the exact same decisions and mistake they made in front of me, and that I corrected, I realize that it’s less nerves than it is ego.
And if ego is going to motivate a person to throw everything they learned in class with me out the window, then they aren’t ready to progress or move forward in the industry anyway.
Because if they can take coaching, which is redirection without the pressure, then they won’t be able to take redirection (coaching) IN the audition room, much less on set, with all the pressure and then some.
I learn everyday from the people I work with. I’m reminded everyday that there is room to grow. I’m also reminded, when faced with challenges, of the times I’ve either ignored or not taken someone’s advice or suggestion, and I’m unable to draw on it.
It’s the “I wish I’d paid attention in class” syndrome.
Opportunities don’t come around everyday. Especially not GOOD ones.
Even when they seem to, there are inevitably changes. Which means new challenges, which means that it’s important to be prepared to take the redirections life hands us, or we are up for a helluva time, and that sinking feeling and “I told you so” voice in the back of our heads.
Then it’s back to the drawing board and WAITING for the next opportunity IF it comes.
DON‘T WASTE GOOD COACHING
DON’T WASTE GOOD ADVICE
DON’T WASTE GOOD OPPORTUNITIES!